Named for the historic city of Gabala (Qabala), Azerbaijan Airline’s first E190 was delivered to the carrier at Baku’s Heydar Aliyeg International Airport on July 4. This is the first of four E190s that AZAL has ordered directly from Embraer that will supplement two E170s joining the fleet later this year that the airline has purchased from ECC Leasing. AZAL will receive the remaining three factory-built E190s through the first quarter of 2014. Those aircraft will also carry names of prominent cities in Azerbaijan – Gusar, Salyan and Khankandi.
Approximately 50 representatives from the airline, government and local community were on hand to welcome the airplane.
The E190s are configured with 106 Elite seats in a single class layout. AZAL acquired the six E-Jets as part of a fleet renewal initiative to replace its turboprops and narrow bodies in some of its markets. Range and comfort were key factors in the airline’s decision since it plans to deploy the aircraft on long-haul routes between Baku and cities in Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia.
The E190 is currently linking Baku with Nachtivan, Ganja and Gabala. The airline plans to expand regional E-Jet operations to Aktau and Tbilisi.
AZAL joins a growing list of new operators in Eastern Europe and Central Asia that have added E-Jets to their fleets, including Air Astana, Air Moldova, Belavia, Bulgaria Air, Ukraine International Airlines, Air Lituanica, Montenegro Airlines and LOT Polish Airlines.